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Cisco TelePresence Enables Physician Consultations in Pharmacies
Posted on Wednesday, January 18, 2012

 Wallisellen, Switzerland, January 18, 2012 – Cisco and Swisscom are equipping 200 pharmacies in Switzerland with Cisco TelePresence® video communication systems. Launched recently under the name netCare, this two-year pilot project will help enable the provision of advanced telemedicine services. With netCare, patients can receive a formal and documented initial consultation (triage) with a physician over a video link at a pharmacy. "We are delighted to be able to offer this unique, pioneering HealthPresence project based on Cisco TelePresence technology," says Christian Martin, general manager of Cisco Switzerland.

Virtual consultations in almost real-life quality

The Cisco TelePresence system connects pharmacy consulting rooms with physicians at MEDGATE, Switzerland's center for telemedicine. At each end of the link there is an EX90 system equipped with a microphone, a camera and a 24-inch full-HD display. The physician and patient can see and hear each other as if they were sitting in the same room. For the patient, the experience is like visiting the physician in-persons; for the physician, it is easy to make a visual assessment of the patient's problems. The system has a touch screen for simple operation.

The TelePresence system can be expanded by incorporating additional components if necessary. For instance, diagnostic devices and an additional monitor can be connected to measure a patient's heart rate, blood pressure and temperature. The system also supports multiple languages.

Maximum security, confidential and efficient

Information is shared between the patient and the physician over a highly secure high-speed link. "Cisco TelePresence offers optimized secure data transmission that fully protects users' confidentiality," explains Christian Martin. In addition, to safeguard patient privacy, medical examinations take place in a separate consultation room, and physicians and pharmacists are bound by an obligation of confidentiality.

The project was initiated by pharmaSuisse, Switzerland's association of pharmacists, in association with MEDGATE and the medical and accident insurer Helsana. "This collaboration between pharmacists, physicians and insurers is playing a key role in helping to boost the efficiency and quality of basic healthcare delivery," says Dominique Jordan, president of pharmaSuisse.